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Why GTA V has to be Rockstar's first PS4/Xbox One game

Rockstar set tongues wagging today when it announced work on a title for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, due to hit stores (and presumably, as a digital download) by March 31, 2015. In other words, it'll be out by the end of the company’s next financial year.

Given that the identity of the game remains a mystery at present, the Internet has kicked into overdrive, with conjecture rampant throughout forums and gaming sites alike. While some want to see a sequel to Red Dead Redemption, Rockstar’s critically-acclaimed Wild West sandbox title from 2010, others anticipate elusive espionage romp Agent to finally rear its head some five years after it was announced.

While that’s all very well - and PSU would certainly welcome the release of either of those games - it’s more likely we’ll be looking at something that’s been speculated on for some time now: Grand Theft Auto V for PS4 and Xbox One. Why? Well, it’s the only title that could conceivably see the light of day, in our humble opinion.

For starters, GTA V is ripe for the picking. We’ve already seen a number of 2013’s biggest games make the transition to the latest crop of consoles -- Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition and The Last of Us: Remastered have all seen to that. GTA V seems a no-brainer in that sense, and given the mammoth sales the crime juggernaut has already seen on PS3 and 360, Rockstar would be crazy not to get a slice of the next-gen pie.

Furthermore, Michael, Franklin and Trevor’s criminal exploits will see the launch of all-new single-player content at some point, and while details are under wraps at present, it’ll be with us by the end of the year. As such, by the time early 2015 comes knocking, GTA V would have already been kitted out with extensive post-launch support, as we’ve already seen some meaty GTA Online updates released. GTA V on PS4 and Xbox One will certainly go down the ‘Ultimate Edition’ route by including said DLC right out of the box.

Aside from that, would Rockstar conceivably have Red Dead Redemption 2 in development for a release by next March? John Marston’s epic journey arrived six years after its spiritual predecessor, Red Dead Revolver, and the studio has previously said on many occasions that it has no intention of rushing out sequels to its most popular franchises. Given the lengthy marketing and hype build-up that a game of Red Dead’s calibre typically enjoys, it wouldn’t make sense for them to have the game ready for early next year. It’s simply too soon. That’s not to say Red Dead 2 isn’t in the pipeline; it almost certainly is on the cards, just not to the point of being ready to roll by March 2015.

As for Agent, that’s been roasting in the pits of development hell for some time now. Originally announced at Sony’s E3 conference back in 2009, the game has failed to give us anything more than a logo and some basic PR babble about 1970s espionage. Jack Tretton, the former CEO and President of Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA), has been quizzed on the game’s status for the past few years after each E3 presser, and not once has he given a definitive update on its progress. In fact, at one point, he even cast doubt over the game’s PS3 exclusivity. While there is a possibility the title has been overhauled for new home consoles, there hasn’t been a peep out of Rockstar yet, and it’ll probably be a while before we see it -- if it even shows up at all, that is.

So, what’s left? Bully 2? L.A. Noire 2? Well, the latter is unlikely given the tumultuous development cycle endured at Team Bondi, and while Rockstar hasn't dismissed the possibility of more entries in its gritty detective-'em-up, chances are slim right now. Bully on the other hand would be our Shot in the Dark, as there's been murmurs of a follow-up and the IP hasn't been touched in years.

On the flip side, it's not as embeded in the mainstream consciousness as GTA V, Red Dead or even L.A. Noire; as such, would Rockstar be taking a big gamble by revisiting Bullworth Academy? Most definitely. 

GTA V definitely seems like a safe bet to us. It would give Rockstar devs a chance to acquaint themselves with the intricacy of next-generation hardware, it wouldn’t require as much money or man power as a full-blown, from-the-ground-up sequel, and it’s a money-making opportunity too good to miss. Oh, and let’s face it; gamers want to play the game on their PS4s and Xbox Ones, and a 1080p/60fps makeover would send copies flying off shelves.

What would you like to see from Rockstar on PS4 early next year? Sound off in the comments section below.